For Immediate Release:
May 24, 2016
After a day of compelling statements favouring a Toronto bid for Expo 2025, Toronto’s Executive Committee decided to take a crucial next step.
It voted to accept the offer of a privately-funded feasibility report on the incremental costs and associated benefits of hosting Expo 2025, a report to be analyzed by the City Manager and considered by the Executive Committee no later than its October 2016 meeting.
A group of 40 prominent businesspeople led by Ken Tanenbaum will now immediately begin the process of commissioning a cost-benefit study of Expo—a study that will be undertaken at no cost to Toronto taxpayers. It will report by the end of August. Earlier studies indicated that an Expo could be a huge economic boon for Toronto and Canada. Ernst and Young reported in 2014 that it could produce a $15.5 billion boost to the national GDP.
“I congratulate Mayor John Tory for his leadership today,” said Mr. Tanenbaum. “I and the other businesspeople who have stepped forward are proud to make this investment in our city and we’re confident that the study will make a strong case for Expo, both as a boost to our economy, but also to the spirit of the city.”
“I’m proud of the Mayor and my fellow councillors for seizing this extraordinary opportunity,” said Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, a leading proponent of Expo on council. “It was encouraging to see my colleagues having the foresight to explore an opportunity that could create 190-thousand jobs and deliver a multi-billion dollar benefit.”
The day began with an extraordinarily broad and diverse show of support for an Expo bid. Former Toronto Mayors Art Eggleton and Barbara Hall along with former Ontario Premier David Peterson urged councillors to bid on Expo—not only because of the economic stimulus, but because of the opportunity to showcase Toronto as a diverse, innovative and vibrant city. Another former Mayor, David Crombie, sent a letter making a passionate case for Expo.
The committee also heard eloquent deputations from representatives of labour, the arts, business, construction, development and community groups—collectively calling Expo a once in a lifetime opportunity for city building.
Claire Hopkinson, CEO of the Toronto Arts Council held up her Expo ’67 passport and said Expo 2025 would be “a gift to the next generation.”
Marcello Cabezas of Expo Next declared: “the movement that has emerged to support an Expo has been nothing short of groundbreaking. It is responsible citizenship at its best.”
Andre Morrisseau from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business said Expo could offer a “lasting legacy and a path towards economic reconciliation through the creation of new jobs and permanent Aboriginal Cultural Centre on the waterfront.”
Executive Committee’s decision followed a letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, signalling that Ottawa is ready to talk about an Expo bid, should Toronto choose to proceed. Expo supporters believe a world’s fair would fit perfectly with the Prime Minister’s vision of a Canada that is open to the world, a Canada that embraces the importance of building vibrant, innovative cities of the future. Premier Kathleen Wynne also sent positive signals on Tuesday, telling reporters that she too is open to a dialogue with the city about Expo.
“The Mayor rightly says we need the support of the provincial and federal governments,” said Councillor Wong-Tam. “Premier Wynne and Prime Minister Trudeau are clearly saying their doors are open.”